PLAIN TWP. — Over the course of 52 years, Richard Doll worked for eight different companies but he never changed jobs.
Up until Aug. 1, Doll worked as a garbage truck driver. He had been picking up and hauling away trash since he was 14.
“It was a job that you knew was always going to be there,” Doll said of his career. The joke was that business always was picking up.
Growing up near Hartville, Doll became friends with Donald Kurtz, whose father, Enos Kurtz, had a business collecting trash. He started helping one summer and never stopped. At age 17, Doll was occasionally driving the truck.
“It was better than playing all day,” Doll said. The money he earned paid for a car and car insurance.
It wasn’t easy work. Kurtz Rubbish collected from customers in Hartville, Uniontown and the rest of Lake Township as well the North Canton area. It was before curb pickup became the norm, and often Doll was walking into customers’ backyards to haul away garbage and ash from burn barrels.
Doll married the boss’ daughter, Elaine Kurtz, in September 1974. Eventually Kurtz sold his business to R.C. Miller, based in Canton. In January 1998, R.C. Miller was sold to American Disposal, which by the end of 1998 was scooped up by Allied Waste.
In 1999, Allied Waste bought Browning-Ferris Industries and sold some operations — including what had been the R.C. Miller business — to Republic Services. But because Republic already owned local trash hauling business, regulators ordered the sale of Akron and Canton operations. Capital Environmental was the next owner.
Cleveland-based Metro Disposal bought the business from Capital in July 2001. Metro held onto the business until December 2009 when it sold to Waste Management. The Houston-based company still owned the business when Doll retired.
While the owners changed, Doll stayed put.
“Whatever company did the buying out, he just stayed with them,” Elaine said. Staying put helped pay the bills and feed Richard and Elaine’s six children.
And Doll liked his job, despite long and irregular hours, coping with weather and dealing with occasional equipment problems. The work was interesting.
“It’s always amazing what people throw out,” he said.
One month without a job was all Doll could tolerate. He started working part time last week at Hartville Hardware assembling doors for local contractors. “I needed something to do,” he said.
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